Published: April 2020. Date of brain injury: September 2012 (child aged seven).
Jazmin was seven when she woke up with a headache two hours after going to bed. She was screaming in pain so we called an ambulance, which arrived 20 minutes later and took her to hospital.
She was seen straightaway before being sent to another hospital where the doctor told us she had an AVM (arteriovenous malformation – a tangle of blood vessels in the brain which bypasses normal brain tissue and directly diverts blood from the arteries to the veins).
Jazmin had two operations and was put in an induced coma for two weeks. When she woke up we discovered she had also had a stroke at the time of her AVM.
Coping in the early days
As a parent it was the most difficult time of my life. It felt like watching a horrible film that we were part of and couldn’t switch off. We put our faith in God and prayed the doctor would be able to save Jazmin. We never gave up hope.
We were so grateful to the doctors, nurses, family, friends and everybody who was with us during this difficult time.
The early days of recovery were very difficult. Jazmin didn’t want to go back to our house, and she was scared to sleep in her bed.
Jazmin had to learn to walk, eat, read, write and dress herself again. Everything was enormously difficult for her. But gradually she managed, and she coped really well.
The difficulty of an invisible injury
Even as life got back to ‘normal’, Jazmin found it difficult with her friends at first. People didn’t always understand how she was different and how she needed help with things she had not needed help with before.
Jazmin loved dancing, singing, drama, and swimming, and she gradually got back to doing all those things. She never gives up.
Advice to parents
If there is one piece of advice I could give parents going through the same thing, it would be to have patience. Encourage your child to do things that don’t yet seem possible, over and over again.
It is a very difficult time to cope with, but you have to have hope, keep going, and continue until the end of the tunnel.
Looking to the future
Jazmin is now 14 and a completely happy girl, without any ongoing problems. She is in Year 10 and we are hopeful she can do well in school and go on to the university of her choice.
We are looking forward to her future and seeing everything she can achieve.